Sunday, January 3, 2010

Pedro Flies to San Fran

How Pedro’s Spine just about snapped off while waiting in line to get into his own country.

Oh my, oh my, oh my!

Well you hear talk about getting into the US these days via air, but I did not expect what I just went through.

Let me start by saying that I have flown stand-by my entire life. My Father is a pilot, which means that his family flies free if there is room on the plane. These days... such room is a very rare thing. Branching out on my own and taking on an adult lifestyle has brought with it an actual ticket - which is just great! The downside is that my country has somehow gone senile and decided to totally ruin the worlds desire to travel to it.
These days, in order to fly into the United states from abroad, several thing are GOING to happen to you. There will be no carry-on luggage with you. the closest thing to a carry on is the laptop - book or clutch sized purses that you can get your hands on. Aside from that everything is required to be checked. The implications of that are that everyone and their mother will be in line to check bags (even those of us who only brought one measly messenger bag for a short trip!) and the resulting lines will take you at least one full hour to get through. No sighs of relief please, there is more to come. -- You will then take your bags to the security drop off point and proceed to wait another 20-30 minutes in this line. From that point you will wait to go through the x-ray line and thorough search, wherein ‘all persons’ will be thoroughly groped by a smelly asian, iranian, or whichever other ethnicity that the vancouver equivalent of TSA has provided you. Normally i’d say im cosmopolitan and culturally sensitive, but not when I am ignored and not when body odor is present~

Ahh yes - one up side. Due to the horrendous lineups prior to the actual US customs, the custom lines are but a trickle and you get to move through them quickly. Granted... its 7:10am and I’ve been here since 4:20am.... hmmm whats 2pm like? I dont intend to ever find out.

Fortunately I do not have to run any sort of gambit as to whether or not I get on the plane this time -- and for that I am truly thankful. -- My plane was also conveniently delayed enough for me to get on to it comfortably. To top it all off! its not United Airlines!

And that is the boarding call - Time to work my magic (contemplated leaving by saying work my thaaang... but that sounded a little to profane to be official.)


Oh but the journey continues. In my stupor, I only half registered that our plane was becoming more and more late. For unknown reasons, we were sitting like some sort of delicious poultry at the gate. If we would have started rotating, that would have only made further sense of why we were waiting because we would officially qualify as rotisserie. After a healthy chunk of time we take off, and my worries of making my next flight take a serious back burner as I fought with my consciousness for a state somewhere between sleep and patient sloth. It seemed that by the time we actually leveled out on our ascent, we tilted back down and began our DEcent. It was a very short flight ~ with an even shorter connection. We landed at 9:15 local time with my plane scheduled to take off at 9:30.

Oh No! We have a gate change. Instead of going to C concourse like we were supposed to, (from which I could DASH to D concourse) we were being relocated.

Well, the Lord works in mysterious ways. Our plane ended up being assigned to gate D5 - a mere stones throw from gate D9 where I was bound.

I got on the flight and took my seat with my naked laptop (even the airport-safe neoprene laptop sleeve was not safe from the American policy) - all around me the overhead bins were filling up with roll-aboard bags from the domestically flying Americans. I wasn’t too terribly jealous, though I was a bit nervous for my messenger bag - given the almost 4 day ordeal with United airlines not too long ago. Even more nerve wracking was the fact that all my official Chinese documents were in that bag. Another character building moment. Another opportunity you might say to strengthen my trust in God ~ shoot if I can do it with my precious cargo, maybe I will be able to do it with so much more as my life changes in China.

Here’s hoping.

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